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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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where to start

Guess hello is the best place to start. I will try to keep this short but get my questions out there.

I have been searching for a smaller size breed for the last year. I am looking at smaller breeds because my arthritis is getting worse and I just am not able to keep up with the large breed dogs. My cousin, on the advice of her doctor is also looking for a companion dog due to a chronic disability. She has narcotizing granulomas in her lungs which means she needs a dog that is hypoallergenic. I have always had large breed dogs (over 100 lbs) so the small breed is new and confusing to me!

The reason I am here is to ask those who know the breed best, actual owners and breeders their thoughts.

We are a large, blended family with myself, my husband, my cousin and 7 children ranging from 19 to 12. With the exception of the two oldest children, who are in college, all of the kids are home schooled and I am a full-time online college student. Michael (husband) is a CDL truck driver who does LTL.

During the week we are home unless there is a doctor appointment, which is not all that often. On the weekends we like to go camping, hiking (not myself or cousin. We keep the campfire going) and visiting state parks.

We want a breed that can go with us everywhere, that they can legally. We are not in favor of the entire family going on camping trips while leaving the dogs at home. The two older kids take turns staying home as we have 5 ferrets,4 bearded dragons, 1 cat and 2 betta fish so someone needs to take care of them.

The only dog I have owned as an adult was a Rottie named Bo. He was a pet store puppy (please do not beat me up over that trust me I payed dearly for that choice.) He went everywhere with me. When I was a Petsmart trainer he even went to work with me. Six months after I moved in with my husband he bit my husband's son in the face. The child needed stitches and I had to make the heartbreaking choice, after many consultations, to help Bo, who was 2 1/2, to the bridge on 2/07/09. I have not owned a dog since. Here is a montage that I made of Bo if you would like to see him http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p...edium=text_url

I have been searching and looking at breeder websites and I am completely baffled. I know that testing is important and I have a checklist of tests to ask about. I have tried looking up dogs on the different registry's and it is just confusing. I guess I just don't know what I am looking for.

One website for example specifically mentioned quality dog food and the number one allergen being corn yet is feeding her dogs/puppies Purina Pro Maybe I am just a snob because my ferrets and cat are RAW fed but I do not think that Purina Pro is a "quality food."

Sorry this turned into a book. I am just trying to figure out what, exactly, I am looking for in a breeder and to make sure our family is right for this breed. Of course a breeder may not let me have one of their puppies because of Bo so it might not even be an option.

Last edited by GlennBaxterFamily; 04-30-2011 at 10:01 AM. Reason: typo's
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 08:04 AM
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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

You are not the first or last person to make the "pet store puppy" mistake, and it certainly sounds like you learned your lesson in the hardest way possible. I don't think most breeders would hold your decision against you. You are obviously a responsible pet owner and parent.

I chose this breed for a similar reason to you... I have ridden, trained and shown horses for 35 years. But I have RA, and it got to the point that I just couldn't ride or even care for my horses at home any more. (I still have my younger one, but he is leased out to a boy who shows him, and lives at a friend's show barn rather than at home) The loss of an animal to train with left a profound hole in my life. I am allergic to most dogs, so that limited the breed possibilities, and like you, I wanted a dog small enough that it wouldn't put further stress on my joints.

I couldn't be happier with my choice of this breed, my breeder, and this particular dog. But I was a bit obsessive about finding the right one, from beginning to end. I wanted a dog who would go on long walks with me, be part of all family activities, get along with other dogs well at extended family get-togethers and have the drive to do performance sports. Also, because this was my first dog, it needed to be of a easy to get along with, "biddable" breed. There are terriers that are supposedly low allergy dogs, but they are higher energy and a little "sharper" temperamentally than I felt comfortable with in my first dog.

Once I had narrowed my search down to this breed (actually, I had narrowed it down to a Hav or a Coton, but it was even harder to find a Coton puppy that coincided with my preferred timing, and they are even more expensive... plus I like all the colors Havs come in!) I started contacting breeders. I didn't care if I had to travel. The right puppy was the absolutely most important factor, and I figured that over the life of a dog, the added travel cost was a drop in the bucket! Some breeders never got back to me, others did, but wouldn't have puppies in the time frame I was interested in, MANY I crossed off the list for other reasons. I also worked closely with a friend who is a trainer, who checked out my "short list" breeders to make sure I wasn't missing anything. None of the good people had ANY problem with this second phone call from her. (I asked them ahead of time) In fact, they seemed impressed that I was being so careful and thoughtful about my decision.

In the end, I found my breeder right here in the forum! Many people who are looking for a puppy run the breeder's name by us here on the forum. Often, someone knows the breeder and their dogs and can give you some feed-back. If not, we can still look at their website and suggest possible red flags, and extra questions that you will want answered. It sounds like you already know about the health testing that is absolutely necessary from a good breeder. I would also not buy a puppy without soaped pictures of the parents and the pup to see that they have straight legs. One of the tricky things with coated dogs is that lovely hair can hide a lot of sins!

In the end, though, I STRONGLY suggest visiting the breeder, meeting the pup's parents and SEEING how the pups are being raised. Because Kodi was such a long way from me, (I'm in MA and the Kings are in NC) I could only visit when I picked him up. But I went down there having PROMISED my trainer friend (who came with me) that if we didn't like what we saw, or if the puppy or parents weren't what we were looking for in terms of temperament, I would walk away. It would have been VERY hard, but I would have done it. Luckily, I didn't have to! The King's dogs are uniformly lovely, sweet and well mannered, and you couldn't ask for a better puppy raising environment. Not only that, but the Kings have been a wonderful resource to me the entire time I've had Kodi, and I feel like we have become real friends. That's the kind of relationship you want with your breeder. (and there are many other good breeders represented on this forum too, I'm just telling you about my experience with MY breeder!)

As far as the food thing is concerned, I wouldn't get too worried about what the breeder is feeding as long as it is within reason. There are LOTS of opinions about what is "necessary" for the perfect dog food. The truth is that different dogs react differently to different foods. Over and over on this forum, you see that one person feeds nothing but XXX (excellent) brand dog food, and that same food is a real problem for someone else's dog. If a breeder has found that a particular food agrees with her dogs, and the puppies are growing well, with good coats and lots of energy, I wouldn't worry about it. You can change them to whatever you want once you get them home! I may be wrong, but I don't THINK that many (if any) breeders start puppies off on raw food.

Oh, and Kodi goes camping with us all the time! well, trailer camping... even before I got RA, I didn't like sleeping on the ground! You will have to consider your pup's coat if you want him to do a lot of outdoor stuff with you. By far, those with the silkier, less profuse coats are easier to maintain, especially if you keep their coat long. Even in a puppy cut, unless you keep them VERY short, you'll be doing a lot of grooming if you get one with a heavy "fluffy" type coat. There are no guarantees when you get a puppy, but look at the adult dogs related to your prospective puppy, and ask the breeder about this. If a lot of the adult non-showing dogs are in long coat, it's likely that they have pretty easy to care for coats! I didn't even know there were different coat types, and I got very lucky. Kodi has a beautiful, silky coat that is quite easy to maintain now that he is an adult (almost ALL Havs go through the dreaded "blowing coat" when they lose their puppy coat, creating mats for a period of time!) Kodi is mostly white, so he does get dirty when he runs through mud in the woods, but even with his long coat he cleans up pretty quickly!

Here are some pix of Kodi on family trips!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2010 04 05 I LOVE TO RUN 05a.jpg (562.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 2010 07 10 Harrison Falls_0021sm.jpg (713.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg 2010 07 17 Silver Lake Camping_0024a.jpg (628.2 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 2010 10 09 Karen & Kodi_0002.jpg (566.6 KB, 11 views)

Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
(ARCHMX Starborn Kodak Moment CGC, NTD, BN, PCD, NA, NAJ, CDX-CCH, RE, RLV, RL1X3, RL2X4, RL3X3...
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 08:09 AM
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I can answer a few of these questions, I have a large blended family of 7 kids between the ages of 22 and 12, and I am home or with Gucci most of the time, expect appointments (I have a chronic issue, too) They are hypoallergenic, but to keep them from aggravating any allergies, you have to bathe them weekly. If Gucci goes more than 7 days without a bath, I start to feel the allergies act up. just like a mop, they do pick up some pollen and other allergens in their fur.

We've travelled with her on all of our trips except for one, which was a cruise ship and they wouldn't take her, but I try to schedule trips to take her with us. It is much easier handling a 9 lb dog on a trip .

Havanese are the best 'companion' dog there is, they are true loyal companions and she did help me get better physically.

As far as feeding, it is variable...I home cook for the last 3 years and feed some canned foods mixed with kibble if we travel. I've never bought Purina, so i don't know about that one.

You are doing all of the right things researching and sound a bit like my situation going into this

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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the replies.

I have been dealing with arthritis pain since I was 16-years-old. I was tested for RA and do not have it but x-rays did not show "damage" in my knee's until I was 30. I always thought I had "fat" knees but now recognize it for what it is .. swelling. Now at 37 it really is difficult to motivate myself on some days to get up and just move. Living in the Pacific Northwest does not help the situation and my doctor has urged me to move to a dry climate.

I know that very few people feed raw and I was a nervous wreak the first month that I switched my ferrets to raw but now it is second nature for me. I would not do a prey model like I do with my ferrets on a puppy but rather go with a dehydrated raw option such as The Honest Kitchen. There are also plenty of kibbles out there that I really like. I refuse to buy a food that has corn gluten meal in the food. I also know what a hot topic food can be. Bo had IBS and allergies and the only food that I could feed him was California Natural Chicken/Lamb and Rice. I even had to make my own treats for him because everything else gave him bloody, mucus filled poo! It took a year, very long year, to figure out the allergies. I got very good at reading and understanding pet food labels.

I personally really like the puppy cut on the adults. I know it will still require bushing everyday. I also like the Dyson vacuum that comes with the pet attachment but have not seen anyone here comment on it so not sure if it is a good choice for this breed.

The other breeds that I have been researching are Pugs and Boston Terriers, which I have since ruled out. Now it is down to a poodle or this breed.

When we go camping we are in tents (inflatable mattresses for the adults) and we cook over a campfire. I also should have added that I am not looking to add a puppy to our home until mid July at the very earliest! My kids are 19 b, 17 g, 14 g (twins) 14 g, 12 b and 12 b. The 14-year-old's are five months apart and the two youngest are 8 months apart. It really is like I have triplets and twins!!! I should add what a joy it is to have three 14-year-old girls ... I feel sorry for the boys most days!

Last edited by GlennBaxterFamily; 04-30-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Here is a website. First red flag .. uses the word "rare chocolate." However if you look all of the breeding dogs are tested. Here is one of the certificates on one of the males but all of the dogs have been tested for the same exact thing. Not all of her breeding dogs have been shown or won titles.


So does this make this breeder bad? Am I missing something because to my very untrained eye this looks like a responsible breeder? Why would a responsible breeder use a word that most responsible breeders would never use?

Last edited by GlennBaxterFamily; 04-30-2011 at 09:48 AM. Reason: typo's
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 09:33 AM
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Welcome to the forum! The one thing I can add from a breed perspective having had both poodles and Havanese - poodles are a little more active and barky. My first Havanese is very calm and hardly ever barks. We just got a Havanese puppy a couple of weeks ago so I'm not quite sure how he will be but he has adapted to our family seamlessly. You would never know he was new to our home from the minute he walked in! I, too, have RA so I prefer smaller dogs. The biggest problem for me with McGee (our new pup) is having to squat down to clean puddles and poop! It kills my knees! I think once I survive the puppyhood we will be on our way! He is already doing better, BTW.

Our first Havanese was on Science Diet, I think. Once I learned to check the ingredients and saw that corn was listed first I immediately switched to a higher protein food. The big poops slowed down at once! She is a happy and healthy Hav especially with her new little brother to play with!

I agree with everything Karen and Kara said, too. If you have any questions about breeders there is usually someone on the forum who can give some insight. Good luck on your search.

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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 09:56 AM
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I looked at the website and they "seemed" reputable. The only red flag I could see was that maybe there were an awful lot of puppies - I counted at least 16. I'm not that knowledgeable about breeder, though. Any others with more knowledge please chime in!
The health-testing sounded good though and the puppies are really pretty.

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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I really "liked" the young adult chocolate parti female. I agree there do seem to be a lot of puppies. I thought I had read (I have looked at a LOT of breeder websites) that she will not ship so I would have to fly to Vegas to pick up the puppy, which is not a problem. The added benefit is it gives me the opportunity to see where the puppies are raised and in what condition they are in before getting the puppy.

I found several more red flags. I know what to look for in large breeds but not small breeds. There are a total of 3 litters. Two of the mother's were a year old (huge no no with large breeds) and bred on prelim testing (another huge no no in large breeds) and the other one was 8 years old!

I hope more knowledge people can give their opinion but I have a feeling this is a not so good breeder who really knows how to "work it."

Last edited by GlennBaxterFamily; 04-30-2011 at 10:47 AM. Reason: more info
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 10:41 AM
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Maybe we'll hear from some more forum members today. I also liked the one you just mentioned! I was going to suggest a little older puppy that is housebroken since you have trouble getting around, too. I can manage with our pup but it isn't easy! We had a "bonding" issue with our first Hav who was eight months old when we got her but that might just be her personality since she is still a little bit shy. I wanted to be sure that our next dog was a puppy that would instantly bond with us and he certainly has! Our breeder is excellent and Abby's was questionable and I can definitely see the difference! You are one step ahead of the game since you know what to look for!

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 11:10 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum. As Karen said I do not feel that you would have what happen to your Rottie be held against you, in fact I myself as a breeder would see that you made a very hard, yet responsible decision.

There was a thread that was started not long ago that may help you in what you want in a good responsible and reputable breeder

I hope it will help you with some of your questions.

As far as a breeder who does not show all of their dogs, I would ask the questions of why. for me I have some who just do not enjoy the show ring, and therefore I do not believe in making them do something that they do not enjoy doing. I would look for the breeder that breeds for quality or quantity. when breeders are breeding and have several puppies on the ground, I would really look closely and would ask why so many puppies. However just two litters of Havanese can produce up to 9 puppies in each litter, though not as common, but I had a girl that had seven puppies and another mother that had four, so I had 13 puppies at once. I had bred two litters because I had a new mother (the one with 7 pups) and an experienced mom, it ended up that my experienced mom had to help raise 2-3 of the pups for the novice mother for a couple of weeks until she got the hang of things.

So I guess what I am saying is you still need to do your homework and ask the questions instead of just assuming. ultimately you have to be the one that feels comfortable with the breeder you choose. After all they should become your life long friend and mentor for any questions you have. If a breeder is not willing to be there for you long after the sale, then you need to move onto the breeder that will.

Good luck with your search and we all look forward to your new bundle of joy, if you choose to go with the Havanese breed.


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Are Tiny Matters Compared To What Lies Within Us."

Here are some links to help educate yourself in how to fight for your rights to continue to own and love your animals. Please do not be mislead by PETA or HSUS who is PETA in suits.
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